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The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (Amendment) Regulations 2022

Summary:

The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 came into force on 1 October 2015. There has been a recent amendment, which will come into force on 1 October 2022. From that date, all relevant landlords must:


1. At least one smoke alarm is equipped on each storey of their homes where there is a room used as living accommodation.


2. Ensure a carbon monoxide alarm is equipped in any room used as living accommodation which contains a fixed combustion appliance.


3. Landlords must ensure smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms are repaired or replaced once informed and found that they are faulty.


In addition to these legal changes, landlords must also be able to show – on the check in form – that the smoke and carbon monoxide alarms were tested on the day the tenancy started.


Regularly testing alarms throughout the tenancy will remain the responsibility of the tenant, but once the landlord is told of a fault, they must replace or repair the alarm as soon as possible.


What type of alarm will need to be installed?

It's not stated in the regulations that alarms need to be hardwired into the building, according to the guidance.

· Smoke alarms should, however, comply with British Standards BS 5839-6.

· Carbon monoxide alarms should comply with British Standards BS 50291.


Landlords and agents are also advised to use alarms with "sealed for life" batteries rather than alarms with replaceable batteries, where possible.


Who's responsible for testing the alarms?

Landlords and agents will need to ensure that the alarms are checked and are in full working order on the "day the tenancy begins if it is a new tenancy." The landlord or agent will also need to keep proof of this check. Tenants are advised to replace batteries where necessary. However, if the alarm still doesn't work after doing so, they should let their landlord or agent know.


As standard, at Pro Property London, our contractors will test all alarms on the check-in and check-out and include findings in our report.


Where possible, they will also be tested on our property routine inspections.


Where should the alarms be located?

Alongside the rules on which rooms and stories require the alarms, as defined within, the guidance highlights that the regulations don't state where the alarms should be installed.


However, it does outline that, "in general", smoke alarms should be "fixed to the ceiling in a circulation space", such as halls or landings. Similarly, it advises that carbon monoxide alarms should be "positioned at head height, either on a wall or shelf, approximately 1-3 metres away from a potential source of carbon monoxide".

 

SMOKE ALARMS

What are the requirements for smoke alarms?

At least one smoke alarm is equipped on each storey of their homes where there is a room used as living accommodation.

· The landlord must ensure that a smoke alarm is equipped on each storey of the premises on which there is a room used wholly or partly as living accommodation

· Rooms used as living accommodation include lounges, dining rooms, kitchens, bathrooms and separate toilets. It also includes a hall or landing

· Mezzanines are also caught by this legislation where they contain a room used wholly or partly as living accommodation

· For individual flats located on one floor there will have to be at least one alarm on each storey of the premises

· Heat detectors are not considered sufficient. It will have to be a smoke alarm


What type of smoke alarm is required?

The regulations do not stipulate the type of alarms (such as mains powered (‘hard-wired’) or battery powered) that should be installed - just that it works.

Www.Gov.Uk recommends that landlords choose the type of smoke alarms based on the needs of their building and their tenants, and that those alarms are compliant with British Standards BS 5839-6.


Where battery powered alarms are selected, alarms with ‘sealed for life’ batteries rather than alarms with replaceable batteries are the better option.


Where do smoke alarms need to be located?

The regulations do not stipulate where the alarms should be placed beyond ‘at least one smoke alarm should be installed on every storey which is used as living accommodation.’

Www.Gov.Uk advises Landlords should follow the individual manufacturer’s instructions when installing the alarms.


In general, smoke alarms should be fixed to the wall or ceiling in a circulation space, i.e. a hall or a landing. However, for smoke alarms, ideally, it should be a mains-wired, interconnected alarm system as this is the modern standard required in the building regulations. As a result, if you use a standalone battery-powered smoke alarm then local authorities are likely to consider this a hazard if they inspect; likely requiring you improve it using their powers under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System.


Your local fire and rescue authority may be able to provide further advice on installation or you can download fire safety information from www.gov.uk/firekills

 

CARBON MONOXIDE ALARMS

What are the requirements for carbon monoxide alarms?

Ensure a carbon monoxide alarm is equipped in any room used as living accommodation which contains a fixed combustion appliance.


· Rooms used as living accommodation include may lounges, dining rooms, kitchens, bathrooms and separate toilets. It also includes a hall or landing.

· Mezzanines are also caught by this legislation where they contain a room used wholly or partly as living accommodation.

· Fixed combustion appliances does include gas fires and oil or gas boilers, wooden stoves, open fires, etc.

· The legislation doesn’t include gas hobs/cookers or ovens, however the Government guidance states it is 'any apparatus heated by gas and used for cooking food.' So it’s advised to still ensure a CO alarm is present in a room with a gas cooker

· Where a fire place is purely decorative, and has been blocked off, then a CO alarm would not be required.


What type of carbon monoxide alarm is required?

The regulations do not stipulate the type of alarms (such as mains powered (‘hard wired’) or battery powered) that should be installed - just that it works.


Landlords should make an informed decision and choose the type of carbon monoxide alarms based on the needs of their building and their tenants, and that those alarms are compliant with British Standards BS 50291.


Where battery powered alarms are selected, alarms with ‘sealed for life’ batteries rather than alarms with replaceable batteries are the better option.


Where do carbon monoxide alarms need to be located?

The regulations do not stipulate where the alarms should be placed beyond ‘every room which is used as living accommodation containing a fixed combustion appliance (excluding gas cookers).’


Gov.Uk advises Landlords should follow the individual manufacturer’s instructions when installing the alarms.


In general, this will typically be

· at head height

· between 1-3 meters away from the fuel-burning source of carbon monoxide

· either on a wall or shelf

 

FAQ

How should a tenant test their alarms to check they are in working order?

Testing of smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms does not require specialist skills or knowledge and should be straightforward for tenants to do.


Landlords should consider providing residents with a demonstration and/or instructions to support resident understanding of how, and how often, to test their smoke alarms and make sure they are in working order. Landlords should follow the individual manufacturer’s instructions for testing alarms and consider sharing these instructions with tenants to support regular testing.


What should tenants do if they find their alarm isn’t working?

If tenants find that their alarms are not in working order during the tenancy, they are advised to arrange for the replacement of the batteries.


If the alarm still does not work after replacing the batteries, or if tenants are unable to replace the batteries themselves, they should report this to the relevant landlord.


Are specialist alarms required for people with disabilities?

Landlords should make an informed decision and choose the best alarms for their properties and tenants, with due regard for their residents’ circumstances.


For example, specialist smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms that alert by vibration or flashing lights (as opposed to by sound alerts) may be required for residents who are deaf or hard of hearing.


Landlords should/must consider their duties under the Equality Act 2010.


What is meant by ‘equipping’ an alarm? Is it sufficient for landlords to provide an alarm, or do they need to install them?

The regulations require landlords to ensure alarms are equipped, and to check that each prescribed alarm is in proper working order on the day the tenancy begins if it is a new tenancy.


Landlords should make sure alarms are installed in an effective way to protect tenants from the dangers of smoke and carbon monoxide.


Your local fire and rescue authority may be able to provide further advice on installation or you can download fire safety information from www.gov.uk/firekills.



How should landlords prove that they have tested alarms at the start of a tenancy?

It is the responsibility of landlords to keep a record of when alarms are tested.


The local housing authority must decide whether the evidence provided proves that the landlord has met the requirements of the regulations.


One possible means, if the landlord goes through the inventory carried out on the first day of the tenancy, is that the landlord makes provision for the tenant to sign the inventory to record that the required alarms have been tested by the landlord and the tenant is satisfied they are in working order.

 

Definitions

Carbon monoxide alarm

A carbon monoxide alarm is a device designed to detect the presence of carbon monoxide gas, and alert users of any detection usually, but not always, through an audible sound alert.


Carbon monoxide gas

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colourless, odourless, tasteless, poisonous gas produced by incomplete burning of carbon-based fuels, including gas, oil, wood and coal.


Mild poisoning can cause headaches and flu-like symptoms, whilst higher concentrations can lead to collapse, coma or death.


Fixed combustion appliance

Carbon monoxide alarms must be installed in any room containing any fixed combustion appliance, except gas cookers. This means a fixed apparatus where fuel of any type is burned to generate heat.


Typically, these appliances are powered by gas, oil, coal, wood, etc., for example, gas or oil boilers, or log-burning stoves.


In the department’s view, a non-functioning purely decorative fireplace would not constitute a fixed combustion appliance.


Gas cookers

Gas cooker refers to any apparatus heated by gas and used for cooking food.


Local housing authority

Local Housing Authority refers to the local council with responsibility for housing in that area.


New tenancy

A ‘new tenancy’ is a tenancy agreement that begins on or after 1 October 2022 and is not a renewal of a previous tenancy agreement.


Private rented home

A private rented home is a house, flat, bedsit, room or other residential accommodation which is privately owned and rented as housing on the open market.


Relevant landlord

For the purpose of these regulations a landlord is a “relevant landlord” if the landlord is the immediate landlord in respect of a specified tenancy, that is not an excluded tenancy.


Remedial action

Remedial action refers to action to install, repair, or check an alarm (I.e. to check it is in working order).


Remedial notice

A remedial notice is a notice requiring a landlord to take remedial action in accordance with the regulations.


Room

The regulations specifically stipulate that a hall or landing would be classed as a room.


Room used wholly or partly as living accommodation

The regulations require a smoke alarm to be installed on every storey of the premises on which there is a room used wholly or partly as living accommodation.


A carbon monoxide alarm must be installed in any room which is used wholly or partly as living accommodation and contains a fixed combustion appliance (except gas cookers).


In general, a room is classed as ‘living accommodation’ if it is used for the primary purposes of living, or is a room in which a person spends a significant amount of time.


The regulations specifically stipulate that a bathroom or lavatory would be classed as living accommodation.


Smoke alarm

A smoke alarm is a device that designed to detect the presence of smoke (as an indicator of fire) and alert users of any detection usually, but not always, through an audible sound alert.


Social rented home

A social rented home is any low-cost rental accommodation that is let below the market rent by a social landlord.


Social landlords are bodies that are registered providers of social housing. This includes local authorities who own and rent housing, housing associations, charities and any other landlord who is registered with the Regulator of Social Housing as a ‘private registered provider’ of social housing.


These regulations do not apply to other types of homes provided by social landlords, such as social sector leaseholders or shared ownership.


Storey

A smoke alarm must be installed on every storey of the premises on which there is a room used wholly or partly as living accommodation.


‘Storey’ is not defined in the regulations. It should be given its ordinary meaning. In the department’s view, for the purpose of these regulations, a mezzanine floor would not be considered a storey.


Tenancy

Tenancy refers to the period of a tenancy agreement between a landlord and a tenant. A tenancy agreement is a contract between landlords and tenants that sets out the legal terms and conditions of the tenancy.


A tenancy can be fixed term (running for a fixed period of time) or perioding (running on a week-by-week or month-by-month basis).

Information sources:


NOTICE:

This information is general only and not provided as advice. Agents and Landlords should seek professional advice from qualified fire safety specialists to ensure full compliance of their investment property.


Whilst effort has been made to ensure this information is correct at the time of publication, contractors working on behalf of Pro Property London Inventories are not qualified fire safety specialists.


Your local fire and rescue authority may be able to provide further advice on installation or you can download fire safety information from www.gov.uk/firekills

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